For the second match of IPL 2019, Kolkata Knight Riders cross swords with SunRisers Hyderabad at the Eden Gardens in the first of two matches to be played on Sunday. It was at this venue that SRH knocked KKR out from the IPL last season, going on to lose in the final. KKR enjoy a slight advantage over SRH in the overall head-to-head between these two teams. Both teams are favourites to go through to the playoffs at the end of the season, and so a lot will be on the line.
Dinesh Karthik continues to lead the home team, while the visitors will probably be captained by Kane Williamson, who has just arrived to join the SRH camp. There has been some speculation, mostly drawing from a pre-tournament photoshoot with the captains of all the IPL teams, that Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Williamson's deputy, would be leading the side this season.
Both sides have strong spin bowling departments, and considering the relatively low scoring nature of the Eden Gardens pitch, this encounter could turn out to be a cagey one decided on small margins.
For KKR, Lockie Ferguson, who has been known to clock speeds over 155 kmph, and Prasidh Krishna are likely to take the new ball. In Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav, they have two capable spinners with a variety of tricks between them. Andre Russell, though not in the best form of late, can be a match-winner with the bat and ball on his day, while KKR's trusted bowling all-rounder Piyush Chawla can be expected to continue playing his part.
The batting order, like last season, seems to be KKR's weakness. Promoting Sunil Narine to open with Chris Lynn might have thrown some opponents off their game last season, but it seems the gamble will be persisted this season too.
Young Shubman Gill has the chance to step up in the absence of middle-order mainstays. Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa are favourites to make up the rest of the middle-order, with a lot of responsibility on the captain to fire on all cylinders like last season.
For SRH, a lot of attention will be on the returning David Warner. SRH have a problem of plenty in terms of foreigners. If Kane Williamson does play against KKR, either of Jonny Bairstow or Shakib al Hasan will have to miss out from the playing XI. Rashid Khan, who picked up 21 wickets at an economy of 6.73 runs per over last season, can be expected to be a certainty in the team.
SRH also boasts of a battery of all-rounders who can win matches single-handedly on their day, with the likes of Yusuf Pathan, Vijay Shankar and Deepak Hooda to choose from. Manish Pandey, a long-time KKR player, will be returning to the Eden Gardens. Wriddhiman Saha, who is also part of the SRH setup, will also be making a return to his home ground.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (capt), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Joe Denly, Lockie Ferguson, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Harry Gurnley, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Shrikant Mundhe, Nikhil Naik, Anrich Nortje, Prithvi Raj, Prasidh Krishna.
SunRisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Martin Guptill, Ricky Bhui, David Warner, Deepak Hooda, Mohammad Nabi, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Abhishek Sharma, Vijay Shankar, Sreevats Gowsami, Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Basil Thampi, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem.
Match starts at 4 pm IST.